Washington Making the American Dream Harder to Realize
Gov. Rick Perry today sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson urging her to withdraw the EPA's recent ruling on the danger of carbon dioxide, especially in light of the recent "Climategate" scandal, which uncovered data had been manipulated and destroyed in order to falsely show a preordained result. The governor was also joined in La Porte today by state officials and energy industry leaders to highlight the negative implications of Washington's continued intrusion into the lives of Texans by sacrificing jobs, negatively impacting our energy industry and compromising our economic strength as they pursue one-size-fits all energy regulations.
"The unelected bureaucrats at the EPA have effectively and unilaterally ended any honest debate on this vital issue," Gov. Perry said. "A cap and tax system would force Texans to bear more than their share of negative effects, including an average increase in annual living costs of approximately $1,200 per household and the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs. I'm a firm believer that Washington's one-size-fits all approaches don't work, whether you're talking energy policies, health care reform or economic development."
Meanwhile, the governor noted that Texas has reduced carbon emission levels more than just about every other state in the country while expanding our economy and managing a growing state population, and without the sweeping mandates and draconian punishments that Washington applies to just about every challenge.
This week, the EPA declared carbon dioxide a public danger despite a lack of scientific evidence to support the ruling. In fact, EPA leadership has previously admitted that the job-killing, high-cost regulations associated with this declaration would neither lower world-wide carbon levels, nor affect global temperatures. Additionally, this ruling coincided with the opening day of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, and comes just weeks after the leak of emails from leading environmental researchers indicating the manipulation of data used to support the theory of global warming.
"Allowing politics to hijack science is not just a scandal because it exposes hypocrisy, but because it impacts the real lives of 24 million Texans," said Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams. "Our family farms, small businesses, friends and neighbors who pave roads and generate power, single moms and working Texas families will all be hit by a Copenhagen Climate Tax ordered upon us by the United Nations, or an EPA-generated regulatory scheme that will have the same negative impact without the consent of Congress."
Implementing the regulations associated with proposed federal legislation such as the Waxman-Markey or Kerry-Boxer bills would amount to the single largest tax increase in U.S. history, significantly increasing the cost of living for all Texas families. These bills would also cripple Texas' energy sector, costing hundreds of thousands of jobs and irreparably damaging both the state and national economies and severely impacting national oil and gas supplies. In fact, the legislation includes funds to pay displaced workers in the energy and manufacturing fields, underwrite their healthcare and provide for job retraining for up to three years. Other provisions will also reduce the chance of home ownership for many Americans by creating a nationalized building code that could ultimately price some new homebuyers out of the market entirely.
"As I have said consistently, CO2 regulations will impose great costs on Texas and Texans, without any guarantee of a measurable environmental benefit," said TCEQ Chairman Bryan Shaw. "Whether you look at the startling comments contained in the "Climategate' documents or the greatly scaled back goals of the Copenhagen global warming summit, it is abundantly clear that the science of global warming is far from settled."
Rather than adopting misguided legislation or allowing the EPA to overly regulate every sector of the economy, Gov. Perry has proposed the federal government follow Texas' lead by making alternative energy technologies less expensive, thereby encouraging widespread commercial use and removing barriers to innovation and competition. Modernizing the national energy grid to support wind and solar energy transmission, facilitating investments in the development of carbon capture and sequestration, and removing barriers to investment in nuclear generation would reduce carbon emissions while encouraging competitiveness, innovation and growth in alternative energy sources.
"The Texas way generates results. Cap and trade or EPA regulation will cost trillions with no guarantee of results, except lost jobs and higher electricity prices," said PUC Chairman Barry Simtherman. "Texas' rational energy policy has resulted in the development of more than 30,000 megawatts of clean burning natural gas generation and more than 9000 megawatts of wind energy. We did this to diversify and secure our energy supplies and lower electricity prices, but it had the side effect of decreasing CO2 emissions from the power sector more than any other state since 2004."
Diversifying the state's energy portfolio remains a priority for Gov. Perry. Texas has already installed more wind power than any other state and all but four countries, and is developing new transmission lines that will move more than 18,000 megawatts across the state -- nearly as much as all other states' current capacity combined. Texas has attracted more than 9,000 megawatts of energy from the development of next generation nuclear power plants. The state is also looking to add new clean coal plants, which will capture and sequester carbon dioxide emissions or use carbon dioxide to increase production from Texas oil fields.
To view the governor's letter to Administrator Johnson: